Bittrex Global Q&A with Aventus CEO, Alan Vey
August 30, 2022
Originally posted on Bittrex Global
Get a deeper look at the $AVT token, the team behind it and the future of Aventus.
Aventus is a scalable, sustainable and interoperable blockchain that makes building on Polkadot, Ethereum and beyond accessible for companies in any ecosystem. To date, Aventus’ enterprise-grade modular architecture has supported use cases including NFTs, video games, loyalty schemes, event ticketing, supply chain provenance and cargo management.
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What gave you the initial idea to create this unique project?
The idea for Aventus originated while I was completing my Master’s in Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London. I approached Professor William Knottenbelt, Director of the Cryptocurrency Research Centre at Imperial, with my ideas to apply certain Artificial Intelligence algorithms to Bitcoin price prediction. Ethereum had just launched, and he told me Bitcoin is old news, and that I should look to the future and explore Ethereum.
I spent the subsequent year researching and completing my Master’s thesis on Ethereum and specifically its potential application to film rights distribution with BAFTA and the UK’s Film Network. It was then that I conceived the idea for the technology underpinning the Aventus Network.
The entertainment industry had been plagued with scalpers and fraudulent tickets, among other issues for which blockchain technology was more than apt for. So Aventus, at its inception, was an open-source, decentralised Ethereum-based ticketing protocol designed to alleviate fraud and touting in the event ticketing industry.
We quickly realised that the applications of our technology extended far beyond ticketing. So we extended and adapted it to solve problems ingrained within other aspects of commerce including loyalty, vouchers, financial assets and virtual goods — essentially any industry or supply chain focused on digital assets.
Blockchain, when applied intelligently, can solve problems around efficiency, security, standardisation, transparency and cost for all of these industries, and that’s what Aventus aims to do.
What is the background of the Aventus team and how did the team come together?
The leadership team is comprised as follows:
Alan Vey — Founder & Chairman: Alan is a Forbes 30 under 30 winner (2021) for his work as the founder & Chairman of the Aventus Network. Alan worked at Deloitte and macro hedge fund Brevan Howard. He completed his Master’s Degree in Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London in 2016. His Master’s thesis was on blockchain technology, looking for a use case around event ticketing and he conceived a business plan for what became Aventus, for which he successfully raised over $20m in 2017.
Andrey Brozhko — Chief Technology & Product Officer: Andrey has over 20 years’ experience leading product and software engineering efforts, primarily in distributed systems and security applications, spanning large multinational companies and startups in fintech, blockchain and cloud industries. Ex-R3 and Oracle, he is a graduate of Warwick University and holds an MBA and MSc software engineering degrees.
Andrew Shackleton — Chief Services Officer: Andrew is a high-performance and innovative operational leader with over 15 years’ achievement in delivering multi-million pound global digital programmes with a focus on increasing profitability, client satisfaction, ROI & revenue growth. He has delivered exceptional growth at start-ups and spin-offs, and is a specialist in turning around areas of operational underperformance. He holds a MSc from the University of Cape Town.
Daniel Masters — Investor & Mentor: Daniel is a Bitcoin pioneer and Executive Chairman of CoinShares, a company that has accumulated over $3B in assets in XBT Provider listed products while having attracted over 40,000 clients. He is an entrepreneur, visionary founder and industry leader in the domain space’s first two NASDAQ-listed Bitcoin and Ethereum tracking certificates and Director of the world’s largest, first fully regulated Bitcoin Fund (which is now retired). He co-founded Global Advisors in 1999, after serving as Global Head of Energy and Trading Business at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company (“MGT”) in New York (now JP Morgan Chase & Co.).
Professor William Knottenbelt — Advisor & Mentor: Prof. William Knottenbelt is Professor of Applied Quantitative Analysis in the Department of Computing and Director of the Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC3RE). He is an expert of the World Economic Forum on blockchain and is technical advisor to a number of blockchain start-ups including Aventus, Gradbase and Alice.si.
The team has evolved over time. As mentioned above, I met Professor William Knottenbelt while completing my Master’s thesis. Once completed, Will gave me top marks and introduced me to CoinShares — a crypto company that was running some projects in collaboration with the Imperial Blockchain Centre — headed up by Daniel Masters.
Since this, both Will and Daniel have been close advisors to Aventus and personal mentors to me.
Andrew Shackleton, our CSO, and Andrey Brozhko, our CTPO, I met via recruiters. With both of them, there was an immediate synergy between us — we have similar traits when it comes to our approach to business, such as a strong drive to succeed, and a passion for what we do and helping bring blockchain to businesses.
What is the story behind the name Aventus?
It was during my second year of university and I was sitting in a cafe with my sister brainstorming names. Back then the initial focus was primarily on events ticketing and we wanted a name that had some gravitas so we began exploring Latin words. ‘Event’ in Latin is eventus. We liked the sound of this but thought it was a bit too obvious. Given my name starts with ‘A’, my sister suggested Aventus. And it has stuck ever since!
Can you give more detail around Aventus team’s roadmap for the future? What do some of the upcoming milestones look like for the next year, as well as long-term goals in the next 5–10 years?
In the near future, our next goal is to become a Parachain on Polkadot. This will entail migrating the current Aventus Network onto Polkadot from Ethereum, and then collaborate with other Parachains to offer our clients the combined functionality of the entire Parachain ecosystem.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure widespread blockchain adoption, and that the most effective way to do that is to do that in the public markets. So the goal for the next 5–10 years is to IPO and take the company public, to bring our vision to as many people as possible.
Can you walk through your team’s tokenomics?
The Aventus Network follows a Proof of Stake model. Stakers (validators / governance participants) will lock up their AVT for a specific amount of time and earn their pro rata share of fees paid by those sending transactions using the network.
On a periodic basis, the network will mint new AVT in the proportion of the staking fees earned as a percentage, e.g. if 10 AVT is earned on 100 AVT staked then 10% of the total supply will be minted as inflation. What this means is that for anyone who does not stake their AVT, their value is inflated away, while stakers maintain their value for actively participating as validators or in governance.
Inflation is split 25% to validators to cover their hard cost of running the network infrastructure and 75% to the Aventus Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with no beneficiaries, with the sole mandate to deploy treasury to benefit the utility of the Aventus Network as a whole.
Governance votes allow the community to have their voice in the allocation grants, updating of network parameters (like validators vs. foundation inflation allocation) etc.
Can you tell us about Aventus becoming a Parachain? What does this mean exactly and why should the crypto community be interested in this?
Currently, one of the biggest challenges facing the wider blockchain industry is a lack of interoperability. We see blockchain rolling out like the internet did, where various siloed intranets need to be connected into the internet of blockchains — a philosophy that has been echoed in client and market feedback. Our ultimate goal is an interoperable and user-friendly Aventus Network ecosystem — one in which value can seamlessly transfer everywhere easily, between institutional, enterprise and retail users across all blockchains.
We believe that the best possible step to achieve this vision at this point in time is to become a layer 1 (i.e. Parachain) on Polkadot.
Polkadot is what is known as a layer 0 blockchain, allowing all of its Parachains to operate as layer 1 blockchains within the Polkadot ecosystem. Polkadot is designed to be a multi-chain network, allowing Parachains to interoperate with each other, meaning that they can all securely ‘talk’ to each other and transfer data securely between one another, and reap the benefits of shared security, interoperability and scalability.
On top of this, Polkadot Bridges allow interoperability with blockchains outside of the Polkadot ecosystem.
What is the Parachain auction, and how can the community get involved?
Polkadot Parachains are leased in slots via auction. The project which can provide the largest amount of locked-in DOT will win the slot.
Those that believe in the utility of Aventus and the value it can bring to the Polkadot ecosystem and wider blockchain ecosystem can support our bid by staking DOT (Polkadot’s native token) for the duration of the lease period.
While locked, the contributed DOT tokens will be used to cover the cost of Parachain lease, but are never directly accessible by Aventus. When the Parachain lease expires, the DOT that you staked is returned to you.
In return for staking your DOT, you will be rewarded in AVT — our native token. Each DOT staked will be rewarded with 3 AVT.
Those who see the value in our contribution to the Parachain ecosystem, or the benefits to the Aventus Network of joining the Parachain ecosystem, can help us to win a slot by contributing DOT via various channels:
- Parallel Finance
At Bittrex Global we really pride ourselves on the safety and security of our users, what are some of the measures that the Aventus team has taken to ensure that all of your users and their assets are protected?
With over $1.5bn in hacks this year in the crypto market so far, security processes and striving for top enterprise standards is of paramount importance to us. Aventus implements secure architecture principles and industry best practices to ensure safety and security of its technology and services, such as:
- Professional development and quality assurance processes, with mandatory code reviews, unit, functional and security testing. Dedicated QA team continuously stress and performance test core platform and applications.
- Encryption at rest and in transit is mandatory for all applications for all data.
- Hashicorp-based secrets management solution for all keys used in live applications. Keys never leave the vault.
- Careful selection and strict vetting for all third-party components and libraries to ensure security of the entire software stack.
- Aggressive maintenance schedule for all software with frequent components updates to avoid potential attack vectors from unpatched software.
- Independent audit for all smart contracts, and critical code modules.
- Annual independent penetration testing for all internet-facing software, including node ‘gossip’ communication interface.
- Enterprise-grade logging and monitoring setup for managed nodes, applications and internal systems.
- Automatic backup and disaster recovery system for all mission-critical systems (including own validator nodes) to ensure availability and business continuity.
- 2-factor authentication enforced for all systems and services.
Looking outside of your project, what are your thoughts on the current state of the cryptocurrency sector, and what do you think the future of crypto looks like?
Looking at our current situation, the industry is showing similar trends to previous crypto winters, although there has been a small uptick in recent weeks.
However, this correction is absolutely necessary for the overall health of the industry as a whole. Think of it like medicine: hard to swallow in the short term, but good for you in the long term. It will weed out the projects with poor fundamentals, who were relying on hype among the media and an inflated market to carry them along — making space for those who are there for the right reasons; those who are focusing on adding value to the Web3 ecosystem; those with a considered approach, robust fundamentals and a focus on creating developing technology that can help businesses in the real world.
This is exactly what we’ve seen in the past with technological innovation — look at the dot com bubble as an example. Following an explosion in the use and adoption of the internet, excessive speculation of Internet-related companies in the late 90s eventually led to an inevitable crash. This correction was exactly what Web 2 needed to put itself back on a trajectory of sustainable growth — and Web 3 is no different.
And for our final question, what is the best way that our community members can get involved with the Aventus project?
Those that believe in our vision and want to support the growth, functionality and security of the Aventus Network can become part of the community by joining our Telegram. They can also follow our blog for the latest updates from our team.